Events: Spring 2010April 14, 7:30PM, Innovation Hall, Room 105
Valerie Bunce,"Transnational Networks, Diffusion Dynamics, and
Electoral Change in the Postcommunist World." Valerie Bunce
is the Aaron Binenkorb Professor of International Studies and Professor
of Government at Cornell University and is a Visiting Fellow at the
National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC. Dr. Bunce
co-edited Democracy and Authoritarianism in the Postcommunist World (2009) with Michael McFaul and Kathryn Stoner-Weiss and is the author of Subversive Institutions: The Design and Destruction of Socialism and the State (1999).
March 23, 3PM, Johnson Center Cinema
Larry Diamond, "Global Recession of Democracy," (Sponsored by the GMU Graduate Political Science Society)
Events: Spring 2009
April 6, 5PM, Student Union Building II, Ballroom 1, Front
John Schoeberlein, "The Akromiya Phenomenon: Testing Our Knowledge of Central Asian
Islam." If one attempts to survey the landscape of post-Soviet
Islam based onWestern sources and the declarations of governments in
the region, the dominant features appear to be a series of radical
movements, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Hizb
ut-Tahrir, and "the Akromiya movement." These movements are
offered as evidence of the threat to civil order and thousands of
arrests have been made across Central Asia of people accused of
association with these movements. But what of the evidence that
these claims are based on? The so-called "Akromiya movement" offers the
starkest example of far-reaching threat claims -- and indeed,
justification of the largest massacre in Central Asia since early
Soviet times (i.e., in Andijan, May 2005) -- in the absence of reliable
evidence. As such, this case allows a particularly revealing
study of how threat claims are produced, and on what they are based in
lieu of evidence. The study of "knowledge production" that forms
the basis of "expertise" on Islam in Central Asia suggests that
production of "expertise" is guided more to meet particular demands
than by the availability of evidence. The key actors in the
knowledge production process include the "experts," as well as those
institutions which create demand for expert positions and which
finance expert analysis. John Schoeberlein is Lecturer on Central
Asia, Dept. of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard. This event is
cosponsored by GMU's Department of Public and International Affairs, the Center for Global Studies, and Global Affairs.
March 25, 1:30PM, Dewberry Hall, South
Stephen Kotkin (Princeton University) and Eric McGlinchey (George Mason), "1989: Looking Back, Looking Forward--The Soviet and Post Soviet Perspective"
March 24, 8PM, Center for the Arts
Mikhail Gorbachev, "1989: Looking Back, Looking Forward." Conference homepage
summary: "Former Soviet President and Nobel Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev
will deliver the keynote address at a conference at George Mason
University on March 24, 2009. The conference, "1989: Looking Back,
Looking Forward," will offer a critical perspective on how the lessons
of the end of the Cold War should be applied to the promotion of peace
and international cooperation in the coming decades."
October 28, 7:20 PM, Student Union Building I, Room A/B
Sada Aksartova, "US Support for Post-Soviet NGOs: A
Sociological Analysis." Since 1992, the US government and private
American foundations have spent more than two billion dollars on
promoting democracy and civil society in the 12 post-Soviet states of
Eurasia. In her talk, Dr. Aksartova will present a sociological
analysis of US assistance targeting post- Soviet nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs). How do US donors and local NGOs interact? What
does a post-Soviet NGO look like? Aksartova will discuss how US
civil society assistance operates on the ground, focusing in particular
on (i) the material and symbolic resources that US donors have deployed
to diffuse the institutional form of the professional NGO in host
societies and (ii) the implications of her analysis for the ongoing
debate about the impact of US democracy promotion in Russia and the
rest of post-Soviet Eurasia. Sada Aksartova is a Postdoctoral Fellow at
George Mason's Center for Global Studies.
September 8, 2008, 4:30 PM, Johnson Center Cinema
Ed Schatz, "Can the US Improve Its Image Abroad? Evidence from Central
Asia." Increasingly, the US State Department is relying on
efforts of public diplomacy to improve America's image abroad. Schatz
and co-author Renan Levine test the theoretical efficacy of these
efforts through an experiment. Participants in their experiment were
recruited in six locations in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. All but those
participants randomly assigned to a control group read a quote about
the US. Schatz and Levine varied attribution of this quote to President
Bush, an Ambassador, an ordinary American or to no one.
Among several findings, Schatz and Levine find that the identity of the
messenger matters, as those who read the quote attributed to Bush
tended to have lower opinions of the US. In this talk, Schatz will
reflect upon the findings from this experiment, as well as other
evidence of America’s changing image in Central Asia from 1991 to
2008. Full paper available <here>. Ed Schatz is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
March 30, 2008, 3:00 PM, 3401 Fairfax Drive, Room 251, Arlington, VA (VA Square Metro)
Richard Wright, "Some Musings on the Origins of the Turkmen Göl"
Wright's talk will focus on the Khiva Khanate with special reference to
the Chodor confederation, and the Bukhara Khanate and the Ersari.
Richard Wright, the instigator of the Washington Textile Group, is
author of "Caucasian Carpets and Covers" with John Wertime (Hali
Publications, 1995). His bimonthly "R.E. Wright Research Report" is
available through his web site http://www.richardewright.com.
March 27, 2008, 2:00 PM, 3401 Fairfax Drive, Room 317 Arlington, VA (VA Square Metro)
"Human Trafficking in Central Asia: The Case of Kyrgyzstan," A panel discussion on human trafficking and victims’ assistance featuring:
Taalaibek Abdraimov, Chairperson, NGO “Podruga”
Kanatbek Osmonov, Lawyer, Osh City Committee on Migration
Igor Shugalskiy, Public Prosecutor, Court of the City of Bishkek
Ainura Usupbekova, Chairperson, NGO “Psychological Crisis Center"
The panel will be moderated by Dr. Louise Shelley, Director of George
Mason's Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center
(TraCCC). TraCCC and the Focus on Central Asia Program express
appreciation to the Open World Leadership Program (www.openworld.gov)
for its role in financing the travel of this delegation of
Kyrgyzstan's emerging leaders in anti-trafficking and
victims’ assistance. Please
note, this event is being held at our Arlington campus, two blocks from
the Virginia Square Metro. Directions are available <here>
April 24, 2007, 3:00-4:30 PM, SUB 1, Room C
Douglas Northrop, "Earthquakes and Empire: Remembering Disaster in
Over the last two centuries, Russian and Soviet governments have repeatedly
attempted to build a new political and social world in Central Asia. What
happens, though, when that world collapses? Cultural encounters in Central Asia
took many forms -- but efforts to establish Moscow's authority faced particular
challenges in extreme climactic conditions and "natural" hazards. This talk
considers the impact of one such hazard, earthquakes, in shaping the actions and
outlook of Russian officials and local populations, and it asks how the
recurrent experience of seismic calamity shaped efforts to remember and
commemorate disasters in the imperial periphery.
Douglas Northrop is Associate Professor of Modern Central Asian Studies,
University of Michigan, and author of Veiled Empire: Gender and Power in
Stalinist Central Asia. He is currently working on a book titled
Five Days that Shook the World: Earthquakes and Empire on the Eurasian Frontier.
May 2, 2007, 4:30-6:00 PM, Research I, Room 163
Stephen Kotkin, "Empire without Nostalgia"
“Eurasia" as a term has suddenly become ubiquitous from scholarly journals and
foundation programs to journalism and everyday speech. But is the idea of
"Eurasia" the disease masquerading as the cure? How are we to understand the
history and possible future of the vast space that lies between Germany and
Japan? Could it be that we have it all wrong? This talk will examine practices
of exchange and governance, from the imperial Mongols to Vladimir Putin and
Stephen Kotkin is Professor of Russian History and Director of the Program in
Russian Studies at Princeton University. His books include Magnetic Mountain:
Stalinism as a Civilization and Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse,
April 9, 2007, 4:30-6:00 PM, Mason Hall, Room D3 A&B
Akihiro Iwashita, "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Sino-Russian
Relations in Central Asia"
Professor Iwashita specializes in Russian foreign policy and Sino-Russian
relations at Hokkaido University. His recent publications can be found <here>
March 29, 2007, 4:30-6:00 PM, Research 1, Room 163
Shoshana Keller, "Story, Time and Dependent Nationhood in the Uzbek History
In the 1950s the Soviet school system stabilized and teachers incorporated
non-Russian national histories into the elementary curriculum. Keller argues
that in Soviet Uzbekistan teachers defined Uzbek nationhood partly through
historical narrative, which told children that the Uzbek people had existed
continuously from ancient times but the nation achieved independence only under
Russian/Soviet leadership. Children learned that for millenia Uzbek hero/martyrs
had fought losing battles against foreign invaders. The best Uzbeks were from
the lower classes, but the nation had also produced high culture. Above all,
children were taught to imagine themselves not within Eurasian Islamic
historical time, but within European historical time as envisioned by Marx,
Lenin and Stalin. What children learned about Uzbek history in school was
central to the formation of a personal sense of national identity and to the
larger Soviet project of nation-building. For more information:
Shoshana Keller is Associate Professor of Russian and Eurasian history
at Hamilton College and author of To Moscow, Not Mecca: The Soviet Campaign
Against Islam in Central Asia, 1917–1941 (2001).
Events: Fall 2006
December 4, 2006, 4:30-6:00 PM, Johnson Center 3rd Floor Meeting Rm B
Roger Kangas, "The United States in Central Asia: Re-Assessing Strategic
Perceptions of the US have soured in Central Asia. Washington's flagging stature
in the region is the result of changing US policies in post-Andijon Central Asia
as well as the fact that other states have pursued active engagement strategies
in the region which are now showing signs of success. Dr. Kangas examines
relations between the US and Central Asian states and explores the relative
importance of these relations to broader US and Central Asian strategic
Roger Kangas is the Marshall Center professor of Central Asian Studies.
November 15, 2006, 4:30-6:00 PM, Johnson Center 3rd Floor Meeting Rm A
Adeeb Khalid, "Understanding Soviet Islam: Religion, Nationality and
Citizenship in Soviet Central Asia"
<New Eurasia Event Summary>
The “Islamic threat” has occupied a prominent place in analyses of Central
Asian politics ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But what is
post-Soviet Islam and what place does it occupy in society? Seventy years of
Soviet rule left a deep imprint of local conceptions of Islam. Adeeb Khalid
argues that post-Soviet Islam cannot be understood without taking into account
the transformations of the Soviet period. This lecture will discuss the place of
Islam in Central Asian society during the Soviet period, exploring the various
connections between religion, national identity, and Soviet patriotism.
Adeeb Khalid is Professor of History at Carleton College, and the author of
Islam after Communism: Religion and Politics in Central Asia (Forthcoming,
University of California Press).
November 6, 2006, 4:30-6:00 PM, Mason Hall, Mason D1
Henry Hale, "Revolution and Repression in Central Asia: Implications of
Eurasia's Recent Experience"
While Eurasia's colored revolutions of 2003-05 are frequently interpreted as
democratic breakthroughs, they are better interpreted as "ordinary" dynamics
that are typical of post-Soviet systems and that do not usually produce much
lasting change. This logic implies that the potential for new revolutions in
Central Asia has not passed, though such events are likely only under certain
conditions. The logic also suggests that future Central Asian revolutions are
likely to be more violent than the original colored revolutions. Implications
for Tajikistan's presidential election will be discussed.
Henry Hale is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs
at George Washington University.
October 26, 2006, 2:00 PM, Rayburn House Office Building, Rm 2200,
"Helsinki Commission Briefing on Tajikistan's Upcoming Presidential Elections"
<Briefing> Media Coverage:
<Voice of America Article on Briefing>,
<New Eurasia Event Summary>,
<EurasiaNet Article on Briefing>,
Dr. Eric M. McGlinchey, Assistant Professor of Government and
Politics, George Mason University
Dr. Dennis de Tray, Vice President, Center for Global
Anthony C. Bowyer, Program Manager for Central Asia, IFES
October 23, 2006, 3:00-4:30 PM, Dewberry Hall (South)
Council on Foreign Relations and George Mason University's Center for Global
Studies, "Iraq and the Middle East"
Stephen Biddle, Senior Fellow, Defense Policy, Council
on Foreign Relations
Steven Cook, Douglas Dillon Fellow, Council on Foreign
Peter Mandaville, Director of the Center for Global
Studies, George Mason University
Eric McGlinchey, Assistant Professor, Government & Politics, George Mason University
Reuben Brigety, Assistant Professor, Government & Politics, George Mason University
Past Events: Fall 2005-Spring 2006
April 24, 2006, 4:30 PM-6:00 PM, Student Union Building II, Room 7
Daniel Kimmage, "Bulldogs under the Carpet: Influence Groups, Informal
Politics, and the Unstable Post-Soviet Status Quo"
Political upheaval in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan in 2003-2005 fueled media
reports of democracy on the march in the former Soviet Union, but the real
lesson of those events was that the post-Soviet status quo may not be as stable
as it seems. Working from the recent example of an opposition leader murdered in
Kazakhstan, Daniel Kimmage examines the intricate web of influence groups and
informal politics that permeate the power structures of the post-Soviet world
from Central Asia to Russia. It is vitally important to lift the curtain on
these informal structures, Kimmage argues, not only to obtain the clearest
possible view of the struggles for money and power taking place in the region
now, but also to prepare for the threats to its stability that they may unleash
in the future.
Daniel Kimmage is the Central Asia regional analyst with Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty Online and editor of the "RFE/RL Central Asia Report." His
recent analysis of Kazakhstan can be found
March 22, 2006, 6:00 PM, Harris Theatre (near Robinson Hall B) Fairfax
H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic
of Afghanistan "Afghanistan from the Bonn Process to the London Conference
and the Path Ahead"
On December 22, 2001, during the Bonn Intra-Afghan talks, Dr. Abdullah was
selected as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Interim Administration of
Afghanistan under Chairman Hamid Karzai. Dr. Abdullah Abdullahreceived an M.D.
in ophthalmology from Kabul University's Department of Medicine in 1983. Prior
to his appointment as Foreign Minister, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah served as special
Advisor and Chief Assistant to Ahmad Shah Masood and as Deputy Foreign Minister
and spokesperson for the Northern Alliance. *NO BACK PACKS OR LARGE BAGS
December 8, 2005, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM, Johnson Center, Assembly Room C
Laura Adams, Princeton University, "The Spectacular State: Culture and
Power in Uzbekistan"
Laura Adams received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California,
Berkeley, and is currently a lecturer in Sociology at Princeton University. Dr.
Adams is finishing her book manuscript entitled The Spectacular State:
Culture and National Identity in Uzbekistan and is working on a co-edited
volume on ethnic and religious tolerance in Central Asia.
November 30, 2005, 4:15 PM-6:00 PM, Johnson Center, Assembly Room F
Dr. Stephen Young, U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan (August 2003-August 2005)
"Kyrgyzstan's Democratic 'Revolution' and Its Implications for Central Asia"
Dr. Young received his Ph.D. (1980) in History from the University of Chicago.
In addition to serving as Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Dr. Young has directed the
State Department's Office of Caucasus and Central Asian Affairs and has held
international posts in Beijing, Moscow and Taipei. Ambassador Young's
recent interview with NHK-TV can be found
November 7, 2005, 4:00 PM-6:00 PM, Johnson Center, Assembly Room C
Edil Baisalov, "The March 2005 Uprising in Kyrgyzstan: Causes and
Mr. Baisalov is the chair of the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society. The
Coalition works to promote human rights and political reform in Central Asia. In
May, 2005, Mr. Baisalov appeared before the US House of Representatives
Committee on International Relations to provide testimonial on the March 2005
Kyrgyz uprising. His testimony can be found
<here>. Kyrgyz media coverage (AkiPress) of Mr.
Baisalov's talk at George Mason available
October 14, 2005, 10:00 AM-5:30 PM, George Mason Arlington Campus
The Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) at George Mason
University announces the third seminar from the series of Policy Seminars on
Conflicts in Eurasia. This final seminar on October 14, 2005, will include
presentations of final papers and a discussion on conflict prevention in the
region. Please see the ICAR website <http://icar.gmu.edu/eurasia/Mission.htm> for a complete listing of presenters.
September 12, 2005, 5:00 PM, Johnson Center Room B
William Fierman, "Language Policy and the Challenge of Nation Building in
Professor Fierman is the Director of the Inner Asian and Uralic National
Resource Center at Indiana University, Bloomington. His current research focuses
on government policies affecting language, Islam and state identity.
Past Events: Fall 2004 - Spring 2005
Professor Mark Katz, Public and International Affairs Department
Professor Larry Butler, History and Art History Department
Professor Julie Christensen, Modern and Classical Languages Department, Russian
Dr. Nancy Lubin, NJA Associates, Inc.
ICAR Policy Seminar on Conflicts in Eurasia (PSCE)
George Mason University, Arlington Campus
Professor Sumaiya Hamdani, History and Art History Department
Paul Stronski, Independent Scholar
Focus on Central Asia
George Mason University, Robinson A201 - MSN 3F4
4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
Tel: 703-993-2960, Fax: 703-993-1399, email@example.com
Updated: Spring 2010